Tweeting strangers for marketing

Yesterday morning, I put out a call on my Twitter asking for information on hotels for an upcoming trip to San Fran. Two companies I don’t follow responded publicly.

One tweet, without an image attached to their profile at “@redhotdeals,” told me to try a site to check out deals for SF “or any area.” It’s obviously written by a real person, but not very personally. Why? No picture, and every tweet from that profile contains a similar call to action: tweet URL and hope for a visit to the site.

W Hotel in San Fran @wsanfrancisco tweeted me  quite personally, jokingly saying “we might know of a place ;)” – yes, it even included the emoticon. Reviewing their tweet history shows each reach out to potential customers appears to be written sincerely – something I appreciated. Their profile pic was their logo, and their past tweets thank people for staying at their hotel, or for mentions on blogs… there are some contests thrown in as well.

It raises a few questions though: what if, instead of two responses, I received two dozen tweets from hotels and websites? Would I pay attention to each one? Probably not – meaning those as personalized as W’s would get lost in the robotic tweeterverse. Enough of these tweets might make me consider moving my profile to private – which would eventually backfire not only on marketers but on Twitter itself.

I do feel this is a trend that’s likely to catch on, but smart companies should consider their next step to stand out from this soon-to-be crowded space.